What if you could Netflix at the Blockbuster Store next door? (Blockbuster Stores, once a giant for movie rentals in the US got slayed by Netflix – the dot-com business of the 90s where you could just get online and get your fix for a movie home delivered.)

This was the 90s, the PC was gaining prominence, however the internet was a luxury for most, while market penetration was only a promise for the things to come. Cut to 2015, the internet is a brand new world at our feet and the story doesn’t end here. The emergence of smartphones has brought internet to our fingertips, affordable and accessible to most, if not all. With these new age devices we set stage for yet another onslaught of technological disruption of business models.

So, coming back to the question – what if you could pick up the movie you want from the store, pay for it online and walk out of the door without having to wait in a queue?

Would you go for it? Maybe not, because you can download these movies directly to your devices. But there are still plenty of other things that you would want to go into the store and shop for physically. Things that you can’t download and things that you don’t want to wait for to be delivered and then have them returned in case of not liking them. For instance, clothes or shoes where a customer wants to touch and feel the product, try it on for fit, etc.

So, how does the above mentioned idea exactly work? You walk into a store and browse through the products and once you’ve got your shopping cart ready, all you need to do is open up the store app/website, scan the products, apply any promotions which are applicable and make the payment online through your phone or tablet. Now, this can simply be done while sipping on a cup of coffee at the in-store cafe or while you’re waiting for your friends who are busy with their shopping. And then finally, on making the payment, have your purchase verified at the exit gate by displaying your order number on your phone and you’re free to go. Thus, letting you beat the queue, use many more payment methods than a physical store would think about offering and best of all save time waiting on the checkout counter.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? But have you come across any stores in your neighborhood who let you shop like this yet? No? You will soon!

SourceFuse is helping its client implement this technology by building an interesting and unique concept of a brick & mortar store with an eCommerce experience.

This great concept of building a web store, apart from letting the customers beat the queue will make it easier by letting,

1. Businesses quickly manage and display prominent and featured products first, without having to set them up on
mannequins which may serve as a physical limitation

2. In-store promotions (to allow the business to create in-store coupons and deals for visitors – to promote and increase the order size)

3. Web and physical store integration (by using the web-store as PoS (point of sale) for an easier integration of sales and order data)

4. Easy deployability (by hosting the solution on the web and making the setup of a PoS at a new store location extremely easy and superfast) and much more…

And now for the ones who are interested in the technology framework that will go into building the concept here is a quick walk-through the various technologies being used and the purpose each will serve,

Magento Community Edition as the open source eCommerce web application for the core features such as catalog management, customer management, shopping cart and payment gateway integrations

WordPress Content Management System for the public facing store with APIs exposed for allowing end users to sign up and gain access to promotional coupons as well as the Magento Store

Customized Add to Cart functionality to allow only physical products to be added to cart for which the barcode is available offline

Limited period product reservation in cart, to open up the product for sale to others in case the end user doesn’t decide to complete the purchase

API exposed to update inventory from other sales channels such as PoS, public web store,

Paypal based payment integration which will allow users to pay using their Paypal wallet or Credit/Debit cards, and

Geo-location based store access, which only allows people at the venue/store physically to check-in to the web-store for making purchases.

Now I must ask another question, have we raised your curiosity? What are your thoughts on this? If you would like to know more please write to me at rohan.mishra@sourcefuse.com